Tag Archives: Washington State Legislature

The 2021 Washington State Legislative Session: A Midway Review

by John Stafford


Introduction

The Washington State legislature is in the middle of its 2021 session, a 105-day session that convened on Jan. 11 and will end on April 25. This year’s session is being conducted via Zoom and will generate three budgets — an operating budget, a transportation budget, and a capital budget. These budgets are two-year documents. They will be created this year (2021) and then again in 2023. In addition to the budgets, more than 1,000 bills are being introduced and debated for potential passage. There are a series of cutoff dates for bills, and we have just passed the Mar. 9 deadline for bills (other than revenue bills) to pass their chamber of origin in order to remain alive.

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Ground-Breaking Police Accountability Bills Pass the House, Await Senate Consideration

by Chetanya Robinson


A bill that would ban law enforcement from using chokeholds and neck restraints on people, end no-knock warrants, and take military weapons out of police hands is up for a hearing in the Washington State Senate this week. Another would require police to de-escalate and use deadly force only when necessary, changing the standard currently enshrined in law.

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OPINION: Economic Equity Requires Bold Action From State Legislators

by Marilyn Watkins


Washington’s State Senate has taken a major step toward a more just and lasting recovery from COVID-19 with passage of a new tax on extraordinary profits from the sale of stocks and other assets of the super-rich. Revenue generated from individuals who have continued to rake in wealth during the pandemic will help fuel the urgently needed rescue of families and small businesses and provide a start toward the long-term investments in child care, public health, and other supports our communities need to thrive.

If Senate Bill (SB) 5096 makes it past additional legislative hurdles to final passage, it will generate over $500 million annually from 8,000 or so of Washington’s wealthiest residents. The first $350 million of new public funds will go into the education legacy trust fund to finance childcare and early learning, K–12 education enhancements, and college access. Revenues beyond that will go into the general fund to support other priorities such as public health and housing and into a new taxpayer fairness account where it could finance the Working Families Tax Credit and other relief for lower-income households.

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With Washington’s Drug Possession Law Gone, Lawmakers at Odds Over Next Steps

by Ben Adlin


On Wednesday of last week, it was a felony in Washington to possess illegal drugs — even if you didn’t know you had them. A day later, it wasn’t. After a sweeping Washington Supreme Court ruling declared the state’s felony drug possession law unconstitutional, there’s currently no penalty on the books in Washington State for drug possession.

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OPINION: A Mother’s Call to Action for State Lawmakers

by Scarlett To


As the Washington State Legislature responds to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Washington families continue to struggle with multiple crises, and we need action from our leaders now. As a local mother and advocate, I am urging lawmakers to take bold and swift action to get immediate relief to communities and families.

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Legislation Looks To Change Youth Sentencing, Offer Retroactive Relief

by Bunthay Cheam


A collection of proposed legislation working its way through the Washington State Legislature could substantially change sentencing of young offenders, as well as revise sentences for those currently incarcerated.

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Black Lives Matter Seattle King County Hosts Emergency Call to Action Meeting to Push Forward Police Accountability Policies in Washington Legislature

by Chamidae Ford


On the evening of Feb. 11, Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County (BLMSKC) called an emergency action meeting online. There are currently seven bills in Olympia that run the risk of dying in committee before they can become law. They represent a future with a less violent and more accountable police force. BLMSKC used the meeting to encourage their supporters to get in contact with their representatives and detailed how they could  do so.

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OPINION: Loved Ones Lost to Police Violence Make Case for HB 1054

by Deborah Jacobs


Giovonn Joseph-McDade was a 20-year-old Green River College student when Kent Police officer William Davis shot him to death after a vehicle chase in June 2017. According to his mother, Sonia Joseph, Giovonn was a humble kid with a passion for sports, especially football, who kept fit, healthy, and positive, and had three younger brothers who loved and looked up to him.

On Jan. 12, the House Public Safety Committee in Olympia heard public testimony on House Bill 1054 (HB 1054), legislation that has the potential to save lives like Giovonn’s, needlessly and tragically taken at the hands of police. HB 1054 deals with multiple police tactics that have resulted in the loss of life and injury to the people of Washington state, including a ban on vehicle pursuits. It’s a bill that deserves a vote on the House floor as soon as possible and in its strongest form.

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South End Legislators Discuss Their Priorities During the 2021 Legislative Session

by Jack Russillo


Washington State’s 2021 legislative session kicked off on January 11 and it will go for 105 days, until April 25. 

Between now and then, State senators and representatives will introduce bills to the legislature, refer them to their applicable committees, and consider the bills multiple times and at various stages before a bill is potentially passed into law. This year’s session is entirely virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which makes many legislators think that fewer bills will be passed, but important legislation is still in the works.

The Emerald contacted each senator and representative from the state’s 11th, 34th, and 37th legislative districts and asked them what their top priority is during this session and why it’s important to them. To find contact information for any elected official, you can visit the Washington Senate Democrats website and the state’s House of Representatives’ website

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